The Brothers Karamazov HTML version

Part I
Book I: The History of a Family
1. Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov
ALEXEY Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch
Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his own day, and still
remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened
thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place. For the present
I will only say that this "landowner" -- for so we used to call him, although he
hardly spent a day of his life on his own estate -- was a strange type, yet one
pretty frequently to be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the same time
senseless. But he was one of those senseless persons who are very well
capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and, apparently, after nothing else.
Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance, began with next to nothing; his estate was of the
smallest; he ran to dine at other men's tables, and fastened on them as a toady,
yet at his death it appeared that he had a hundred thousand roubles in hard
cash. At the same time, he was all his life one of the most senseless, fantastical
fellows in the whole district. I repeat, it was not stupidity -- the majority of these
fantastical fellows are shrewd and intelligent enough -- but just senselessness,
and a peculiar national form of it.
He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri, by his first wife,
and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second. Fyodor Pavlovitch's first wife, Adelaida
Ivanovna, belonged to a fairly rich and distinguished noble family, also
landowners in our district, the Miusovs. How it came to pass that an heiress, who
was also a beauty, and moreover one of those vigorous intelligent girls, so
common in this generation, but sometimes also to be found in the last, could
have married such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all called him, I won't
attempt to explain. I knew a young lady of the last "romantic" generation who
after some years of an enigmatic passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite
easily have married at any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their
union, and ended by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and
rapid river from a high bank, almost a precipice, and so perished, entirely to
satisfy her own caprice, and to be like Shakespeare's Ophelia. Indeed, if this
precipice, a chosen and favourite spot of hers, had been less picturesque, if
there had been a prosaic flat bank in its place, most likely the suicide would
never have taken place. This is a fact, and probably there have been not a few